Bucks Rumors

Draft Updates: Mavericks, Kings, Celtics, Warriors

There’s a “growing sense” that the Mavericks will scoop up Michael Porter Jr. if he’s still available at No. 5, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. He cautions that Dallas hasn’t reached a final decision, but the team likes Porter enough to take him even if he has to sit out all of next season because of back issues.

A report earlier today has the Sixers interested in moving into the top five to grab Porter, so it appears they’ll need a top four pick to trump the Mavericks. Porter also remains in contention for the Kings at No. 2.

There are more draft day rumors to pass along:

  • The Kings have narrowed their choices down to Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley III, according to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The team’s ownership may break the deadlock later today. Mannix adds that the Hawks will get a “stampede” of offers from teams interested in Doncic if Sacramento opts for Bagley.
  • A conflicting report from Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated states that the Kings have already reached a decision and believe they are adding a “franchise altering prospect.” (Twitter link).
  • Former NBA coach Larry Brown believes Doncic will need to land in the right situation to be successful, relays Sportando (Twitter link). “At 16 he was as good as he’s now,” said Brown, who recently accepted a job with Fiat Torino in the Italian League. “He’s smart but I don’t know in which role he can play. Maybe forward/big man. If he’d play for [Rockets coach Mike] D’Antoni or a coach with European mentality he’d be phenomenal.”
  • The Celtics are working to trade into the top five, but their chances are small unless they part with Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. The Clippers, who own the 12th and 13th selections, also want to move up and the Bucks would like to add more picks.
  • The Warriors are still hoping to buy a pick somewhere in the 30s, according to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). They worked out a group of players yesterday who might be available in that range, including Jacob Evans, Devon Hall, Gary Trent Jr. and Hamidou Diallo. Golden State already owns the 28th pick and can spend up to the maximum $5.1MM to acquire another.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander confirmed that he held a workout for the Clippers, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Gilgeous-Alexander admitted that he turned down a few workout requests, but didn’t specify the teams. In addition to the Clippers, the Knicks and Hornets have also watched him work out, according to Woo, who adds that Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t believed to have a promise but could be taken in the top 10 by teams that need backcourt help (Twitter link).
  • The Sixers attempted to see Donte DiVincenzo in person, but weren’t able to work out a time because of scheduling conflicts, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).
  • Mitchell Robinson was limited by a sprained left ankle in his recent workouts, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The 7-footer expects to be fully recovered soon.

 

Teams Lining Up For No. 3 Pick If Kings Pass On Doncic

The Mavericks, Magic, Bulls, Knicks, and Clippers have expressed interest in moving into the Hawks’ No. 3 slot to select either EuroLeague guard Luka Doncic or possibly Texas center Mohamed Bamba if the Kings pass on Doncic at No. 2, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Those teams, along with the Nuggets, have also talked to the Grizzlies at the No. 4 spot. The Celtics don’t appear to be a serious contender for either pick, O’Connor adds.

Here’s some other tidbits from O’Connor’s story:

  • The Hornets’ willingness to deal Kemba Walker has waned since they reached an agreement with the Nets to trade Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov. The Cavaliers have shown interest in solving their point guard dilemma by acquiring Walker.
  • The Clippers could select Miami (Fla.) guard Lonnie Walker with one of their first-rounders and then ship him to the Hawks. The Clippers have the No. 12 and No. 13 picks in the lottery.
  • The Bucks are trying to package the No. 17 pick with point guard Matthew Dellavedova‘s contract. Dellavedova has two years and $19.2MM remaining on his deal. Milwaukee would trade down in the draft in that scenario and not exit altogether.
  • The Timberwolves have a strong interest in Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo with the No. 20 pick.
  • There are rumblings that the Bulls made a promise to draft Boise State shooting guard Chandler Hutchison. That would have to be at No. 22 unless they make a deal.
  • The Trail Blazers and Lakers are interested in IMG Academy shooting guard Anfernee Simons with their late first-round picks.
  • Kentucky small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs, and Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham are believed to have received draft promises.

And-Ones: Brown, Motiejunas, Broekhoff, USA Basketball

Longtime NBA coach Larry Brown will sign his contract to become the head coach of the Euroleague’s Fiat Torino on Sunday, according to a Sportando report. Brown’s agent, Massimo Rizzo, said his client has already signed a letter of intent to coach the club but won’t ink the official contract until his press conference this weekend, the report adds. The 77-year-old will be taking his first head coaching position since resigning from Southern Methodist two years ago.

We have more international and domestic basketball news:

  • Forward Donatas Motiejunas will remain in China next season, Sportando relays. He re-signed with Shandong for approximately $3MM, the report adds. Motiejunas played 34 games with the Pelicans in 2016/17 after beginning his career with the Rockets, but long-terms concerns over the soundness of his back sidetracked his NBA career.
  • Australian swingman Ryan Broekhoff has visited several teams this week hoping to land an NBA contract, HoopsHype tweets. Broekhoff, who went undrafted out of Valparaiso in 2013, was scheduled to visit and work out for the Wizards, Timberwolves, Bucks and Nets, HoopsHype adds.
  • Reggie Hearn, Jonathan Holmes, Amile Jefferson, David Stockton and Xavier Munford are among the 14 players who will be on the training camp roster for the USA World Cup Qualifying Team, according a USA Basketball press release. Training camp begins on Wednesday and the final roster will be pared to 12 players.  In the FIBA World Cup Qualifying games, the U.S. will face Mexico on June 28th in Mexico City and Cuba on July 1st in Havana.
  • The Hornets and Raptors are interested in adding Sergio Scariolo, who is currently the head coach of the Spanish national team, to their staffs, according to another Sportando post.

Central Draft Notes: Bulls, Bucks, Pistons

The Bulls have the pieces to move into the Top 5 of the draft but it’s unknown whether they like any prospect enough to do that, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bulls could package their picks at No. 7 and No. 22 and power forward Bobby Portis to make a deal with the Hawks at No. 3 or the Grizzlies at No. 4. Memphis, though, might want to unload Chandler Parsons contract, in which case the Bulls probably wouldn’t have to include Portis, Strotman continues. With Lauri Markkanen the long-term solution at power forward, the Bulls can afford to deal Portis, who might become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t receive a contract extension, Strotman adds.

In other draft-related musings involving Central Division clubs:

  • If the Bulls retain their No. 22 pick, they should avoid Duke sharpshooter Grayson Allen and Villanova big man Omari Spellman, Scott Phillips of NBC Sports Chicago opines. Allen’s temperamental behavior during his college career is something the Bulls don’t need with an already young roster, while Spellman’s skills do not complement Markkanen because he’s not a rim protector, Phillips continues. De’Anthony Melton (USC), Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky) and Anfernee Simons are three other late first-round prospects the Bulls should pass on, Phillips adds.
  • The Bucks could select Michigan big man Moritz Wagner with the No. 17 pick, Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox.com speculates. The Bucks need a physical frontcourt player who can shoot from outside and Wagner would bring that, Woelfel continues. While most draft experts peg Wagner as a late first- or early second-round selection, he could move into the middle of the first round because of his offensive skills, Woelfel adds.
  • Missouri State forward Alize Johnson and Purdue guard Dakota Mathias are two of the players the Pistons might consider with their second-round pick, according to Ansar Khan of MLive. Both players came in for workouts this week. Detroit traded away its first-round pick in the Blake Griffin deal with the Clippers.

Bucks Work Out Aaron Holiday, Mitchell Robinson

  • The Bucks continue to take a closer look at possible candidates for their first-round pick, according to Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times (Twitter links), who reports that Aaron Holiday (UCLA) and Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky) worked out for Milwaukee today. Holiday and Robinson rank 22nd and 23rd, respectively, on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com.

NBA: Draft Eligibility Rules Could Change By 2021

The NBA sent out a memo to all 30 teams on Friday telling them that draft eligibility rules could change by 2021, but no earlier, reports ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The memo indicates that the league is reviewing issues “related to player development and the corruption investigation in college basketball.”

According to Lowe, the memo doesn’t mention the one-and-done rule specifically, but reports have suggested that the NBA is considering making changes to that rule, which requires prospects to be 19 years old or at least one year removed from high school in order to become eligible to enter the draft.

The league presumably wants to give teams plenty of warning if such a change is coming, since allowing prospects to enter the draft directly out of high school could create one year when the draft class is especially loaded. For instance, if the NBA eliminates the one-and-done rule for the 2021 draft, the final group of one-and-done players and the first group of high school prospects could both be draft-eligible that year. The NBA’s memo says that the eligibility rules aren’t expected to undergo any changes for the 2019 or 2020 drafts.

While teams still have plenty of time to prepare for potential changes to draft eligibility rules, the timing of the memo is worth noting. As Lowe observes, we’ll likely see some clubs trade future picks as part of draft-night deals next week, so the league wants those teams to have as much information as possible about the potential makeup of future draft classes.

The Heat, in particular, could be impacted by this news, since they’ve already sent their unprotected 2021 first-round pick to the Suns. The Grizzlies and Bucks could also end up surrendering unprotected first-rounders in ’21 to the Celtics and Suns, respectively, but those traded picks – which are protected in 2019 and 2020 – will likely change hands before then.

According to Lowe, the memo indicates that the NBA will discuss draft eligibility issues further at the league’s annual meetings at the Las Vegas Summer League next month.

Draft Updates: Porter, Doncic, Bagley, Bamba

Teams that had planned to attend Michael Porter Jr.‘s workout tomorrow are being told it will be held at another time, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Porter’s representatives canceled the session late Wednesday night without providing an explanation.

The move has led to speculation that Porter’s surgically repaired back may be bothering him, but it’s also possible he has received a guarantee that would make a group workout unnecessary. Porter’s camp may be rethinking his status and devoting time just to teams at the top of the draft, according to Tom Ziller of SB Nation, who adds that they now believe he will be taken in the top four.

There’s “a very real chance” that the Kings will use their No. 2 pick on Porter, Amick adds, but it’s not certain at this point whether last night’s news will impact their decision. The organization may request more medical information and take another look at Porter in action before making a commitment.

There’s more draft-related news this morning:

Billy Preston To Work Out For Bucks

  • Billy Preston, who last played in Bosnia, has workouts on tap with the Trail Blazers, Bucks, Hornets, and Nets, he said today (Twitter link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). Preston is one of 91 early entrants hoping to be drafted this year.

Draft Notes: R. Williams, Nuggets, Clips, Wizards

Texas A&M center Robert Williams, who previously worked out for the Bulls, Hornets, and Knicks, continues to earn looks from teams picking in the top half of the first round. According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link), Williams still has workouts on tap with the Clippers, Nuggets, Wizards, who hold the picks from 12 through 15.

Williams’ session with the Nuggets will take place today, according to a press release from the club. In addition to scheduling an individual session with Williams, Denver has also lined up a group workout which will feature Hayden Dalton (Wyoming), Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Arnoldas Kulboka (Capo d’Orlando), Dzanan Musa (Cedevita), Ajdin Penava (Marshall), and Johnathan Williams (Gonzaga).

Meanwhile, the Bucks – who hold the No. 17 selection – also wanted to bring in Williams for a workout, but he expects to be off the board before Milwaukee picks and has passed on the team’s invitation, per Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. According to Woelfel, Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith, another good bet to be drafted in the top 16, also won’t work out for the Bucks.

Here’s more on the 2018 NBA draft:

Five Key Offseason Questions: Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks were a popular preseason pick to grab a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference and perhaps even win a playoff series for the first time since 2001. However, despite a huge year from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee struggled to string together wins. The team fired its head coach midway through the season, claimed the No. 7 seed in the East, and was once again knocked out of the postseason in the first round.

With little cap flexibility to go out and make major additions to their roster, the Bucks may have to rely primarily on a new head coach and further internal development in order to take a step forward next season.

Here are five key questions facing the franchise this summer:

1. Is Mike Budenholzer the right head coach for the Bucks?

Budenholzer was linked to the Bucks’ job shortly after the team fired Jason Kidd, back when Budenholzer was still coaching the Hawks and Joe Prunty was the interim head coach in Milwaukee. He didn’t officially secure the position until months later, but the fact that his interest in the Bucks apparently predated his departure from Atlanta is a signal that Budenholzer is excited about the job ahead.

During his introductory press conference, Budenholzer spoke specifically about wanting to unlock the Bucks’ defensive potential, which is an intriguing possibility. Budenholzer’s best squads in Atlanta were among the NBA’s top defensive teams, and Milwaukee has the personnel to create problems for opponents on that end of the court.

With athletic, rangy players like Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, John Henson, Tony Snell, and Thon Maker on the roster, the Bucks should have a better defensive rating than they did in 2017/18 (110.1; 19th in the NBA). While his impact on the offense will be interesting to monitor too, I’ll be curious to see how much influence Budenholzer can have on D.

2. Will the Bucks re-sign Jabari Parker?

Parker’s free agency will probably fly somewhat under the radar in an offseason when players like LeBron James, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins could change teams. However, this is a former second overall pick who has a 20+ PPG season under his belt and is still just 23 years old. It will be fascinating to see what sort of interest he receives as a restricted free agent.

Although Parker’s per-minute production and shooting numbers in 2017/18 were solid for a player coming off his second ACL surgery, he was somewhat inconsistent, and the Bucks were a better team offensively and defensively when he was off the court. That up-and-down play may limit Parker’s earning potential this summer, particularly with so few teams around the NBA carrying significant cap room.

While it’s possible a club with space like the Bulls, Mavericks, or Suns makes a strong play for Parker, forcing Milwaukee to make a tough decision, it wouldn’t surprise me if the former Blue Devil finds himself unsigned after most of the cap room around the NBA has dried up. In that scenario, the Bucks could play hardball in negotiations for a long-term deal, perhaps locking up Parker for about half of the maximum salary, rather than the near-max contract he once seemed on track for.

It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that Parker could sign his qualifying offer this summer with an eye toward increasing his stock in time for unrestricted free agency in 2019. Either way, barring an unexpectedly aggressive offer sheet from a team with cap room, the Bucks appear to be in good position to retain Parker, assuming they want to do so.

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